Chain of Thought

The Dumbest Crowd that Ever Came Along

T. Boone Pickens weighs in on the state of energy in the U.S., saying if you think there’s anything like a free market for oil in the world, you’re kidding yourself.

“We’re going to go down as the dumbest crowd that ever came along,” says industrialist and oil man T. Boone Pickens. No, he wasn’t referring to the results of the latest election; he was referring to the United States’ policies (or lack thereof) when it comes to the production and distribution of fuel.

Speaking at the recent CSCMP conference on the broad topic of energy, Pickens observed that 90 million barrels of oil are used every day throughout the world, and U.S. consumption accounts for 20 million barrels, or 22%. But if you think there’s anything like a free market for oil in the world, you’re kidding yourself, Pickens says. “OPEC runs the global oil market,” he states emphatically.

The good news, according to Pickens, is that the world is changing when it comes to oil, as the United States is finding more oil here within our borders. But as we heard during the Presidential debates, most of that production is on private lands, as the official U.S. policy on drilling for oil remains, at best, murky.

More good news from Pickens: The U.S. is number 1 in natural gas reserves in the world. “We’ve got the cheapest energy in the world, but we need to do a better job of educating our people about what are resources are and what they can do.”

Pickens doesn’t think much of President Obama’s pursuit of wind and solar energy, painting him as something of an ideologue unable to differentiate between good ideas and bad (e.g., Solyndra). Pickens also doesn’t think too much of ethanol, calling it “a stupid idea.” He points out that there are 21 farm states in the country, with 42 U.S. Senators who stick together on agricultural issues. “If they want something, they can get it.” He concedes that, at the very least, ethanol is preferable to OPEC oil.

Finally, Pickens is a believer in nuclear energy, as he knows it works. “Any energy that’s American-made is okay with me.”

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David Blanchard

During his career Dave Blanchard has led the editorial management of many of Penton Media’s best-known brands, including the company’s flagship title, IndustryWeek, as well as Logistics...
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